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While students were performing service in Peru’s provinces, they worked on their final projects. The assignment required interviewing Peruvians and conducting field observation on topics of their choosing.
Students turned in papers when they returned to Lima and then, at the final retreat, presented their findings. The presentations took most of the day on Saturday, with students taking turns to present in 15-minute blocks.
Michael took the first slot, presenting on the music of the Asháninka people of the Peruvian Amazon. He showed us how to dance, Asháninka style, played a homemade flute and sang two songs for us.
Lucas interviewed children and adults at the orphanage where he worked in the Peruvian Amazon, or selva. He employed playful mathematics to try to pin down predicting characteristics of who would like to move Lima and who would prefer to remain in the jungle.
Joel investigated whether foreign groups who came for short volunteer visits to the orphanage where he worked were helping or hurting. His findings suggested that donations might be more useful.
Tim looked into transportation safety in the city of San Ramón, where he was working in a clinic. After interviewing people on their use of seatbelts and motorcycle helmets, he took it a step further and surveyed how much faith they had in the local emergency medical systems.
Emma, an education major, studied the teaching of fourth-grade mathematics in San Ramón vs. the teaching of math in Indiana. She interviewed the children she worked with at an after school program as well as teachers and tutors and discussed teaching methods.
Derek William talked about the agriculture of the Asháninka people. He found many differences between small-scale farming in the jungle and larger U.S. farms like the one he grew up on. Surprisingly, though, he also found many similarities.
Matt compared his own music education with what he found available to low-income children at the school where he worked in Tarma. He discovered not only different practices, but also a different mindset toward learning about music.
Derek Peter, a nursing major, studied attitudes toward natural or home remedies as compared to medicines available at pharmacies in the town of San Ramón.
Sierra turned her eye for art to examining the town of Oxapampa for presence of the arts – music, dance and visual. She also asked people about their attitudes toward art as a career choice.
Brian conducted interviews about communication technology in Tarma, to discover how connected people of different ages are, and how they use cell phones and social media.
Leah studied a ubiquitous Ayacucho textile, the manta. The brightly woven cloths are used for everything from carrying babies to hauling heavy loads. Recently, a resolution was passed by the Peruvian Cultural Ministry declaring the Ayacucho manta a “Patrimonio Cultural de la Nación,” or national cultural heritage item.
Stefan interviewed children and adults in San Ramón to learn their attitudes and expectations of gender roles in careers.
Brody studied the music of Oxapampa, an area with an unusual mixture of cultures. The polkas and accordions of the area’s German immigrants blend with Andean pan flutes and jungle tunes.
Edith asked her interviewees about encounters with spirits, from ghosts and demon-possessed animals, to God.
Andrew conducted interviews to find out whether Quechua, the language of the Andean people, is still a valued tradition or whether it is becoming a cultural relic.
Alejandro gathered information about three traditional cures: avoiding cold drinks, diagnosing illness using a cuy, or guinea pig, and the use of urine to cure certain illnesses.
Miranda compared public and private school educations in Peru, interviewing both children and adults.
Jaime studied child-rearing practices in Peru, comparing them with typical practices in the United States.